Monday, June 10, 2013

Top 5 Cramp Cures

This was me almost every night after a run when I first started. Every night in bed, when I would straighten out my leg to stretch or roll over, BAM. The worst charlie horses the world has known descended upon me to break my slumber. It wasn't just once or twice, it was every time. Even when I got on my knees to clean under my bed, I got an unpleasant attack. As soon as the top of my foot was pressed against the floor, there it was; the most twisted, gnarled foot/calf cramp in the land.

The issue was completely brutal. I began to think, who could be behind these CLEARLY evil shenanigans. WHY WHO OTHER than the owner of a terrifying death whinny and apparent purveyor of non-stop crampitude?!


This appeared as a moral dilemma, cause at first it was weird, though I swore to eliminate the worst of the cramps that devoured my sanity. It's true I was vague on the how, so how can it be that you have shown me the light? It's a brand new day, and the sun is high, and the cramps are sayin' that I'm gonna die. First I hesitated. Now I wonder why. It's a brand new day.

See what I did there? At first I thought, "This is my body adjusting to my new running regimen," but when the problem didn't go away, I decided to do something about it. I assumed the mantle of NURSE TERRIBLE and began to look for cures. Following my research, I assembled this list of 5 things/products that have given me some comfort and have definitely helped me reduce this issue significantly. I'm not sure I've eliminated Bad Horse and the Evil League of Evil, but I'm pretty sure I've chased them into hiding.

...For now. MWAHAHAHAHAHA... AHAH HA HA, HUH HA! ...So that's, you know. Coming along.

Without further ado, here's the list of my top five cramp cures;
  1. Drink Water: One of the most common causes of cramps is dehydration! Make sure you're getting at least 64 oz of water per day.
  2. Potassium: A potassium deficiency is one of the leading causes of the common cramp. After a hard workout, I've started eating a banana after I get home and shower. It's delicious and it not only helps with cramps but they're said to alleviate muscle soreness overall. Diet wise, they are very sugary, so I don't recommend chowing down on them non-stop, but one a day or even every other day can be very good for you. 
  3. Mineral Ice: Bad Horse might actually know about this one, so keep it on the D.L.! I got this recommendation from a friend who rides horses. Apparently this is a product that's used for our equine friends (or NEMESES), but is just as useful for us. You can slather this on your legs after a run and then leave it on for about half an hour to get some relief. I will say that this stuff is pretty greasy so make sure you use saran wrap or you'll get it all over everything as you go about your business. I was doubtful since this is something you do for horses, but it did actually provide some relief despite being a bit of a mess.
  4. Icy Hot: You can easily pick this up at any drug store. I prefer the non-greasy balm and stick approach. I like to keep the stick in my purse in case I need some on-the-go relief.
  5. Yoga: It's important to stretch and some nice Hatha yoga will often do the trick. Focus on deepening all the stretches as much as you can and breathing into the areas that seem tight. Take your time. It might not have a huge affect right away when it comes to cramp reduction (it's not like I'm going to get out of bed and start doing a sun salutation every time Bad Horse comes to call!), but it's a very good habit to adopt into your workout routine and will help keep your calves from seizing up quite so much.
If I missed your favorite cramp cure, then please feel free to add it in the comments!


  1. Taking a magnesium supplement tends to reduce my frequency of cramps.
    Hate those middle of the night tear-inducing calf cramps!

    1. Me too! I'll definitely keep that in mind. interestingly, when I was in the hospital to get my gal bladder out, they were CONSTANTLY saying I was low on magnesium and pumping me full of the stuff. HMMMMM. I'll have to look into that.

    2. I believe it was a chiro who told me that nighttime cramps were likely a magnesium deficiency (I get them almost exclusively at night) and daytime cramps were likely a potassium deficiency. When I talk my "CALM" at night, I sleep well and have no cramping issues. :)

    3. Interesting! Mine are almost exclusively at night or when I'm prone and then I stretch my legs out. I wonder why there's a difference between the causes.